The task was to write a scene in which a hard-boiled detective meets a client.
She burst through my door like a hurricane waiting to happen. The broad was definitely not my type. She looked like she was on the right end of twenty-five. I like my women middle-aged and desperate. Makes ‘em easier to please. I’m a sucker for dames in short skirts and high heels; this runty thing was wearing sweats and flip-flops. She coulda used the height, too; couldn’ta been more than five-nothin’.
And her accessories—a kid balanced on each hip. Judging by her belly, either she’d hit up Chang’s All You Can Eat Buffet one too many times, or there was another ankle-biter on the way. This girl was trouble.
Dodging around the smaller rugrat’s attempt to shove a car down her shirt, she fixed her glare on me. “You Malone?”
“Yeah,” I growled. I didn’t know why she was here, but I knew I wanted her business like I wanted another hole in my head. Her kids started screaming her name, and the scotch in my desk started screaming mine.
“I’m here to hire you. I’ve lost something.”
I chuckled to myself. “Clearly. Lemme guess: your mind?”
Faster than I could say “Cash in advance,” I was thrown out of my chair and pinned to the ground, her forearm slowly choking the life out of me. I’d never seen anyone move like that—and she was still holding one of the brats; the other was perched on my desk. It was my own stupid fault, too. The number one thing they teach you in PI school? Never underestimate the arm-strength of a woman with toddlers.